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Possible Pick: NDSU’s Turner Could Be Lower-Level Steal
(Editor’s Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held May 8-10, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today’s featured player is North Dakota State offensive tackle Billy Turner).
Name: Billy Turner
Position: Offensive Tackle
College: North Dakota State
Height/Weight: 6-5 / 315
Honors: 2013 FCS Athletic Directors Association Offensive Lineman of the Year. All-America first team by The Sports Network, Associated Press, Walter Camp, AFCA and the FCS Athletic Directors Association.
Key stat: In 15 starts last season as a senior, Turner was responsible for no quarterback sacks. Graded out at 96 percent with 10 knockdowns in a win at Kansas State.
Where He’s Projected: Small-school players can be tricky to evaluate but North Dakota State really isn’t a small-school anymore. Sure, they’re FCS level but after three straight national titles and win over Kansas State in Manhattan, the Bison have everyone’s attention, including 6-5 tackles like Turner, who held up well at the Senior Bowl. He’ll probably be a third-round pick but there’s a chance he sneaks into the second round.
How He Helps the Cowboys: Offensive tackle isn’t a position of great depth. Jermey Parnell has been around for a few years now and the Cowboys obviously like what they’ve seen from Darrion Weems. But getting a young tackle to develop seems to be an underrated priority. Turner would be the type of player who might need some time to get adjusted to the NFL speed but once he’s more acclimated, he has the type of body and feet to play any spot on the offensive line other than center.
Scout’s Take: Athletic with good shuffle to protect the edge, staying light on his feet to mirror. Good set up quickness, patience and reflexes with body coordination and bend. Strong at the point of attack with powerful initial jolt, generating power from his built upper body and long arms when you studied his film from his season at North Dakota State. In the Senior Bowl he stepped up in weight class and he was not bad. Thought he did a really nice job in the game handling Ra’Shede Hageman of Minnesota when he tried to rush him. Was able to match his power and strength, keeping him on the line of scrimmage. For the type of athlete that he is, did a much better job of handling those rushes when they were right down the middle. There were a time or two in the practices where he wasn’t as quick as he needed to be to the edge. Thought he game got thrown off a little when he didn’t have that success. Michael Sam of Missouri got to him off the edge with is speed. Was not use to seeing rushers with that type of quickness. Tended to get a little over extended at times but was able to recover and keep himself in position to maintain the block. The blocks where he has to make athletic movements, he is much better. No problem making the reach or cut off. Comes off the ball quickly and is able to work his head in position to keep his man out of the play. Has no problems getting to the second level and making those blocks. Where he had some problems was with his sustain as a drive blocker. You see that initial jolt then he would fall off. Did like how he played on his feet. It was rare to see him badly off balance or on the ground. Really like the fit for him playing in a zone blocking scheme that allows him to work along the edges. With some gained strength, might even consider putting him inside as a guard.